In or at London?

IRoman_writing_tablet_01 read an interesting article last week and posted it. It was about the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) translating the oldest hand-written document by Roman Britons found in the UK. The wooden tablet and others were found during an archaeological dig in the middle of London. This is all fascinating enough but what also piques my curiosity is the spelling of London found on one of the tablets.

MOLA deciphered a tablet to read “Londinio Mogontio” – “In London, to Mogontius.” I’ve been using Londinium in my Eboracum series. It’s a matter of noun declension: Londinium
(which is neuter) means ‘to London,’ as opposed to Londinio, which would mean ‘at London.’ The modifier, like pronouns in front of verbs, was actually part of the Latin word itself. Hmmm. Something to ponder.

Tablets have been found at other places around the UK too, although these are not as old. At Vindolanda, a supply base located south of Hadrian’s Wall, stacks and stacks of documents were found also preserved in sodden conditions. Archeologists quickly learned that unless the tablets were handled correctly (freeze-dried), the things quickly fell apart. The London tablets as well have been freeze-dried after being cleaned.